Shared Medical Appointments and Mindfulness for Type 2 Diabetes—A Mixed-Methods Feasibility Study

Carolyn Ee, Barbora de Courten, Nicole Avard, Michael de Manincor, Mahmoud A. Al-Dabbas, Jie Hao, Kate McBride, Shamieka Dubois, Rhiannon Lee White, Catharine Fleming, Garry Egger, Angela Blair, John Stevens, Freya MacMillan, Gary Deed, Suzanne Grant, Kate Templeman, Dennis Chang

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Introduction: Type 2 diabetes (T2DM) is a major health concern with significant personal and healthcare system costs. There is growing interest in using shared medical appointments (SMAs) for management of T2DM. We hypothesize that adding mindfulness to SMAs may be beneficial. This study aimed to assess the feasibility and acceptability of SMAs with mindfulness for T2DM within primary care in Australia. 

Materials and Methods: We conducted a single-blind randomized controlled feasibility study of SMAs within primary care for people with T2DM living in Western Sydney, Australia. People with T2DM, age 21 years and over, with HbA1c > 6.5% or fasting glucose >7.00 mmol/L within the past 3 months were eligible to enroll. The intervention group attended six 2-h programmed SMAs (pSMAs) which were held fortnightly. pSMAs included a structured education program and mindfulness component. The control group received usual care from their healthcare providers. We collected quantitative and qualitative data on acceptability as well as glycemic control (glycated hemoglobin and continuous glucose monitoring), lipids, anthropometric measures, blood pressure, self-reported psychological outcomes, quality of life, diet, and physical activity using an ActiGraph accelerometer. 

Results: Over a 2-month period, we enrolled 18 participants (10 females, 8 males) with a mean age of 58 years (standard deviation 9.8). We had 94.4% retention. All participants in the intervention group completed at least four pSMAs. Participants reported that attending pSMAs had been a positive experience that allowed them to accept their diagnosis and empowered them to make changes, which led to beneficial effects including weight loss and better glycemic control. Four pSMA participants found the mindfulness component helpful while two did not. All of the seven participants who contributed to qualitative evaluation reported improved psychosocial wellbeing and found the group setting beneficial. There was a significant difference in total cholesterol levels at 12 weeks between groups (3.86 mmol/L in intervention group vs. 4.15 mmol/L in the control group; p = 0.025) as well as pain intensity levels as measured by the PROMIS-29 (2.11 vs. 2.38; p = 0.034). 

Conclusion: pSMAs are feasible and acceptable to people with T2DM and may result in clinical improvement. A follow-up fully-powered randomized controlled trial is warranted. 

Clinical Trial Registration: Australia and New Zealand Clinical Trial Registry, identifier ACTRN12619000892112.

Original languageEnglish
Article number570777
Number of pages16
JournalFrontiers in Endocrinology
Publication statusPublished - 6 Oct 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • feasibility study, pSMAs for type 2 diabetes
  • glycemic control
  • mindfulness
  • primary care
  • shared medical appointments
  • type 2 diabetes


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